Honey bees play a very important role in our agricultural industry by pollinating the plants on our farms, which in turn provides us with our food. However, the agricultural industry today isn’t very inviting to honey bees and industrial agricultural practices have been attributed to the decline in bee populations.
The major modern agricultural issues that are affecting bees and other wild pollinators today include:
- Expansion of mass-flowering crops – It has been noted that there are negative consequences as a result from land-use intensification, which include a decline in biodiversity and a loss of natural habitat.
- Crop monocultures – Crop monocultures is when only one or two species of plants are planted on a farm. This results in a lack of plant diversity and limits the food supply to bees. It also puts a great deal of stress upon bees as they are shipped in and shipped out of the farms for pollination.
- Extensive use of pesticides – Exposure to the harmful pesticides that are applied to plants can result in negative health consequences or death in bees.
It is obvious that these agricultural practices aren’t sustainable in the longterm. A return to ecological agricultural practices is necessary for human survival and the survival of bees. Yet, you may be thinking that it’s impossible to alter a billion dollar industry. In fact, if we start from the bottom and make small changes in our community and in our own lives, we can get the ball rolling to initiate change on a higher level.
Here’s a few changes that can be made to benefit the bees:
- Start or join a community garden – Community gardens are beneficial because they utilise a previously unused space to make it into something beneficial for the community and for the natural environment. As there is a large variety of flowering plants planted in the garden, the food diversity for bees increases, which then helps to sustain their populations. Community gardens are also known for supporting urban beekeeping. By starting or helping out a community garden, you are not only doing something positive for yourself, but you are also doing something positive for the bees. Visit our friends at Connect To Your Community Garden for more information.
- Support ecological farming and buy organic – Ecological farming favours bee diversity and abundance by resourcefully using the land, conserving biodiversity and stopping the use of harmful pesticides. Organic produce is produced through organic farming, so you know you’ve purchased a bee-friendly product when you buy ecologically and organically made produce. Click here for more information.
Being conscious about where your food comes from, how it is produced and how it affects the environment is essential to the survival of bees. When you think about it, it is quite easy to make small and simple changes to your life that will benefit the community and the natural environment, especially bees.
Take action today by joining your local community garden and supporting ecological farming!